LAS VEGAS — In unquestionably the biggest fight of his career, Terence Crawford is a whopping -700 favorite at BetMGM over Shawn Porter.
That says a little about the level of opposition that Crawford has faced in his career and a lot about the public perception of him as a fighter.
Crawford is No. 2 pound-for-pound on the Yahoo Sports list of the world’s best fighters, behind only undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. Crawford himself is a former undisputed champion, having held all four super lightweight belts before moving up to welterweight and capturing the WBO title.
He’s been magnificent as a welterweight, going 5-0 with five KOs at the weight. Those five stoppages, added to the three stoppages he had in his last three bouts at super lightweight, give him a run of eight consecutive fights won by KO or TKO.
Porter, though, is several steps above anyone Crawford has ever faced. A former WBC welterweight champion, Porter is +400. He’s +900 to win by decision and +1000 to win by finish.
He’s known for his pressure, but that pressure comes at a price against someone like Crawford, whose quick feet and great sense of timing allow him to pivot into position to punish an opponent who is moving toward him.
Porter is going to pressure because it’s his style, but he’s going to have to get all the way in and not be at half-range. To do that, he’ll have to get past Crawford’s stinging jab, which at times is like another power punch in his arsenal.
Crawford has better quickness and lateral movement than Errol Spence Jr., who defeated Porter in a 2019 welterweight unification bout. Spence dropped Porter late in that fight and it wouldn’t be a shock if Crawford were able to do the same.
The uglier of a fight Porter is able to make it, the better it will be for him. If he can keep Crawford on the ropes or in the corner for long stretches and physically wear on Crawford, it’s to his advantage. Crawford, though, is far stronger physically than he appears and it’s no given that strategy will work.
I like Crawford to win the fight, probably by decision, but I wouldn’t rule out a late finish. Look at the odds, it’s tough to lay $700 to win $100, but that’s what it will take to bet Crawford to win. I don’t like the value there, going against a quality fighter like Porter, so I will pass on that.
That brings me to the two bets I will consider: Crawford by decision at -125 or Crawford by KO/TKO/DQ at +175. The value on the round props with Crawford late is good too: You can get him by KO in Round 9 at +1600, in Round 10 at +1800, in Round 11 at +2000 and in Round 12 at +2500.
If I think a finish comes, it will be late, so I could play $100 on each of the final four rounds and guarantee myself a nice profit if he finishes it in one of them.
But Porter’s never been stopped, and he’s been in with some big hitters.
So ultimately, I’m going to go with Crawford by decision at -125. I’ll lay two units on that because I feel Porter’s too good and too tough not to make it to the finish.